Gusties Lead the Way in MIAC Postseason Honors

Posted on March 1st, 2023 by

SAINT PETER, Minn. — It’s safe to say the Gusties have proven themselves to be at the top of their conference. After winning both the MIAC Regular Season and MIAC Playoff Championship, the Gusties sealed their spot at the top, leading the way with four All-Conference players and eight total post-season awards, the most of any team in the MIAC.

Anna Sanders (Sr., Vadnais Heights), Kylie Baranick (So., Maple Grove), Emma Kniefel (Jr., Medford), and Rachel Kawiecki (So., Richfield) each earned the All-Conference nod, while Grace Benz (Sr., Steele, N.D.) was named MIAC Honorable Mention. Sanders, Baranick, and Kniefel also earned a spot on the MIAC All-Playoff Team for their performance in the postseason. This is the second year in a row Sanders and Kniefel have been selected as MIAC All-Conference players.

Sanders had a senior season to remember, leading the team in scoring with a 13.3 ppg scoring average for 359 points this season. She dished out 80 assists and added 2.7 steals per game for 73 on the regular season – the second most in the conference. Sanders posted a conference best 3-point percentage, knocking down 63-for-141 (44.7%). Her 63 threes were third in the conference, averaging 2.3 per game.

Sanders set her fair share of records this season, beating out her own season-highs in every statistical category, posting the second-best 3-point percentage in Division III, and the fifth-best in a season in Gustavus program history. Sanders’ 63 3-pointers are just two shy from tying the program record, and three from owning it outright. Sanders’ 75 steals on the season are eighth in Gustavus history, and just ten short from tying the program record.

Like Sanders, Baranick was a crucial piece of the Gustie offense, second on the team in scoring at 10.7 ppg and leading the team, and the conference, in assists at 100 on the season for 3.7 per game. Baranick posted double-digit points in 17 games this season, including her last nine games played, and broke her career-high in points in a game twice this season, including 24 points in the Gusties’ MIAC Championship win. Baranick’s assist/turnover ratio of 3.33 ranks sixth in all of NCAA DIII this season.

Kniefel was just behind Baranick and Sanders in scoring for the Gusties, averaging 10.4 ppg. Kniefel picked up 86 rebounds, 47 assists, and 41 steals on the season for a complete performance on both ends of the court. Her field goal percentage of 48.4% (104-215) ranks seventh in the MIAC.

After earning All-Rookie honors the year before, Rachel Kawiecki picked up the first All-Conference honors of her career. Kawiecki had a banner year for the Gusties, leading the Gusties’ rebounding in 11 different games. Kawiecki posted 159 rebounds for 5.9 per game, behind only Grace Benz on the roster. Kawiecki’s 83 offensive rebounds led the team and the conference, and her field goal percentage of 57.3% (98-for-171) is best on the team and second in the conference.

Grace Benz also was named Honorable-Mention All-Conference after leading the Gusties’ defensive efforts, posting a team-high in rebounds at 189 for 6.9 per game for eighth in the MIAC. Benz’s 119 offensive rebounds led the team, as well, and were good for 10th in the conference. Benz was named one of the Gusties’ two Athlete of the Week selections this season, earning the defensive honor after tying her career-high in rebounds with 12 against Augsburg.

Sanders, Baranick, and Kniefel led the Gusties in the inaugural MIAC All-Playoff Team, selected for their performance against Saint Benedict in the semifinal and Concordia in the title game. Sanders posted consistent numbers for the Gusties, averaging 19 ppg and 5.0 rpg in the postseason, and tacked on seven assists between the two games. Against Saint Benedict, Sanders tied her season-high, putting up 22 points against the Bennies. Baranick hit her own season-high – and career-high – against Concordia scoring 24 on the night. Baranick averaged 18 ppg and 5.0 rebounds per game, and added to her MIAC leading assist total with 13. Baranick finished the postseason games with a perfect 15-for-15 mark from the free-throw line. Kniefel was trouble for the Bennies, scoring 17 and shooting 66.7% from the field in the game. She averaged 6.0 rpg and added another perfect free-throw mark in the postseason games.

St. Olaf’s Rachel Kelly was named MIAC Offensive Player of the Year, Hamline’s Chan’el Anderson-Manning took home the Defensive title, while Lexi Imdieke of St. Scholastica was the MIAC Rookie of the Year. Concordia’s Kim Wagers earned the conference’s Coach of the Year honor.

MIAC Release


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